The Smelting House at Røros
The smelting house was the keystone in the mining operation. It was in the smelting house that the ore underwent a long and laborious smelting process before the end product was ready for export.
Randi Borgos Amund Spangen
Apart from the summer months, when the smelting activity was stopped in order for the workers to harvest the hay and work on their farms, production in the smelting house was continuous. There was heavy traffic to and fro. The ore was transported from Storwartz, Nordgruvefeltet and other mines by horse and sledge, and from afar the peasants arrived with loads of charcoal and wood. A great deal of this transportation was taken over by the railway when it opened in 1877 and by the cable cars, which were built after the 1900s. But certain routes were left to horse drawn sledges right up to the final whistle.
The smelting house, which burnt down in 1953 was newly erected in 1888. During the time it was being built the following passage appeared in ‘Fjeld-Ljom’ (the local newspaper):
It is sincerely hoped that the Works great sacrifice at this time, in order to ensure employment, when again taking up the arduous struggle in the extraction of copper will be successful. All the inhabitants’ future and welfare depend on this.’
When the building was completed ‘Fjeldl-Ljom’ wrote: ‘Røros smelting house has reappeared after the fire during the summer, a great building. Large and roomy towers this monster of a wooden house. Many busy hands have been employed here during the summer. The smelting furnaces are bricked into position and the machines and equipment put into place. On a trial basis smelting has already started up in two of the furnaces, namely in a refining furnace, and the ‘American’ in which the final smelting of raw ore to copper residue takes place in accordance with a new principle. Røros smelting house is one of the most modern of its type in the world.’
The smelting house was closed down for good in 1953. It had been a large and important workplace for many generations. Visually, ‘this monster of a wooden house’ had been as much of a Røros landmark as Bergstadens Ziir (the church) and the slag heaps. Some years later, in 1977, work in the mines also stopped.
Source. The entire article is taken from the book: ‘På Sta’a og uti markom’ Bind I, Randi Borgos and Amund Spangen 2001.